Sunday, March 22, 2015

Video: Kippah Wearing Young Men Hold Off Drunken British Yobs Attempting to Enter Synagogue

Merrie England

From the Jerusalem Post:
A group of approximately 20 youths attacked a local synagogue in the London suburb of Stamford Hill over the weekend, yelling threats, beating worshipers and vandalizing property, according to IsraelHatzolah's official twitter account. 
One witness belonging to the "Ahavat Torah" congregation described the mob as shouting "we will kill you" as they proceeded to physically assault the worshipers inside the synagogue and tear apart prayer books. 
Another Jewish local who had passed by the scene rushed inside, grabbing one of the suspects with the intention of bringing him to the police, but was quickly overwhelmed by the other attackers and suffered strikes to the face, losing a tooth. 
Police confirmed that they were treating the attack as an anti-Semitic incident. Police were called to the scene early on Sunday morning, just after 1 a.m. local time, when a group of intoxicated men, believed to have come from a nearby party, tried to gain entry into the synagogue. 
One man suffered injuries while trying to prevent the men from entering. Some of the group did succeed in entering, eventually being removed by security staff. 
Six men were arrested for disturbing public order and assault.
Here is the video:

And here are some observations. Since at least some of the perpetrators were arrested and no one was seriously injured, I am going to be a bit flippant in places. I hope that doesn't offend:
  1. It was classy the way the Rabbi of the synagogue, Maurice Davis, told the BBC: "I think this incident was more anti-social than anti-Semitic." I believe that gets it right, as much as I think the rising tide of anti-Semitism in Europe is very real and very deadly. Then again, whether or not the drunk and violent yobs hate Jews as much as they might just be, so to speak, equal opportunity drunk and violent yobs, they're not exactly doing their Jewish brothers and sisters any favors in these dangerous times.
  2. On that topic, if you are a yob and you occasionally enjoy being nasty to people who wear (what you think are) silly religious caps and seem to prefer studying and praying on a Saturday night than hefting pints at a football pub, does that make you anti-Semitic? That's an honest question, not a sarcastic or rhetorical one. But it gets to the heart of the question of, say, what it really means for some action or person to really be a racist as opposed to just being, as the Rabbi put it, anti-social. Perhaps in the end it doesn't matter. Note that I said, "perhaps".
  3. What would have been the reaction had they been recorded attacking a mosque? No doubt, the government would have declared a National Day of Racism Awareness and 100,000 people would have demonstrated in Trafalgar square.
  4. I like the guy threatening the attackers with what looks like half of a broken picture frame. (Or is that thing a tool of some sort, used in synagogue libraries?) I wouldn't want to be on the receiving end of that makeshift weapon. The yobs didn't advance. Even drunken British yobs aren't completely irrational.
  5. Maybe it was the local SSPX branch.
  6. That was a bad joke.
  7. Notice the two young women in the tight skirts who seem to be trying to calm things down and make peace or whatever. They seem to be sort of apologizing for their yobby boyfriends. The last thing the second one says before exiting is, "Sorry 'bout that," bashfully, in a cockney accent.
  8. The video reminds one a bit of the last part of the classic film Straw Dogs (the original 1971 version, directed by Sam Peckinpah and starring Dustin Hoffman).
  9. These days any occurrence like this has at least a few people taking video from their cell phones, even if they're bobbing and weaving while holding the device, so as not to get hit by a flying chair or some such. That's not a criticism. Just an observation.
  10. Some of the news stories state that the attackers entered the synagogue. So, was this video taken before or after? First, I thought the defenders were in a back room or something. But it looks like there's a street and perhaps car headlights on the other side of that door. Was there something going on in another part of the building?

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